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Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS - Politics - Nairaland

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Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by father01: 4:28pm On Oct 03, 2017
UMUAHIA, Nigeria (Reuters) - A secessionist leader seeking independence from Nigeria has been missing since an alleged military raid more than two weeks ago left his house in the city of Umuahia riddled with bullet holes, its windows smashed and doors hanging off hinges.

The disappearance of Nnamdi Kanu, after the raid the army says did not happen, threatens to ignite separatist unrest capable of destabilizing southeastern Nigeria, a region where a million people died in a 1967-70 civil war over the short-lived Republic of Biafra.

Kingsley Kanu, 48, said he was with his older brother Nnamdi, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, at their family home on the evening of Sept. 14 when soldiers stormed in.

“They were shooting everything they saw,” he said, pointing to bullet holes in walls and windows.

“They came here just to kill everybody,” he said, adding that around 20 IPOB members were shot dead but most of the bodies were taken by soldiers.

Reuters witnesses - a reporter and TV cameraman - on Sept. 27 saw six corpses with bullet wounds in a morgue, who IPOB said were among their members.

Two resembled men in photographs held by weeping relatives who told Reuters their brothers were killed in the raid, though nobody could verify the identities of the four others.

“The military did not raid Nnamdi Kanu’s residence,” a military spokesman told reporters in the capital, Abuja. “Nnamdi Kanu is not in the custody of the military.”

The allegation and denial are the biggest flashpoint of a military deployment in the southeast that began in September.

Civil society groups and analysts say the military presence, last month’s designation of IPOB as a “terrorist organization”, and its leader’s disappearance could prompt the separatists to abandon their policy of non-violence.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim northerner, made a crackdown on secessionists the focus of his first speech in August after returning from three months of medical leave in Britain.

He then held talks with armed forces chiefs who days later launched Operation Python Dance, which the military said was intended to reduce violent crime and “secessionist agitations”.

Soldiers with rifles are present across Umuahia, capital of Abia state, in armored vans and at checkpoints where motorists are routinely questioned.

Buhari is already contending with Boko Haram’s jihadist insurgency in the northeast and seeking to maintain a ceasefire with militants in the southern oil-producing Niger Delta.

But some say the former military ruler risks exacerbating the situation, just as militant attacks in the Niger Delta surged last year after troops were deployed.

HEAVY-HANDED?

“The government’s heavy-handed approach will only shore up local support for a radical group that previously struggled to broaden its base,” said Malte Liewerscheidt of global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

Ryan Cummings, director of Africa-focused risk management company Signal Risk, said the Igbo ethnic group that dominates the region, and has long spoken of being marginalized, felt targeted.

“The government has allowed insecurity to burgeon in other areas of Nigeria without similar deployments,” he said, citing attacks by Fulani herdsmen that have killed hundreds of people in central Nigeria over the last few years.

A wall at the family home of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu features a painted flag of the former Republic of Biafra and holes purportedly caused by bullets, in the city of Umuahia, southeastern Nigeria September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alexis Akwagyiram
Tension followed the arrival of troops in the southeast.

Abia’s governor imposed a curfew in the city of Aba last month. Several days of tension between IPOB members and troops led to claims by the group that Kanu’s house had been besieged by soldiers, which the military denied.

Videos circulating on social media including footage purportedly showing troops in Abia using sticks to flog men stripped to the waist, which the army said it was investigating, have heightened anger.

“The presence of the army scared our people. People spoke about what happened during the Biafran war,” said Onyebuchi Ememanka, a special adviser to the state’s governor who is a member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“There were no serious security challenges that would justify the deployment of troops,” said Ememanka.

He said he never saw IPOB’s members carrying weapons, though he added that a uniformed national guard and secret service had held parades in the last few weeks, which he called a “new dimension”.

Red, black and green paint - the Biafran flag’s colors - daubed on walls and tree trunks across Umuahia follow calls for a referendum on independence.

Slideshow (3 Images)
Kanu’s release on bail in April, after being held for nearly two years on charges of criminal conspiracy and treasonable offences, brought attention back to the issue.

However, talk of secession among people on the streets of Umuahia mostly hinged on whether or not they had the right to make a democratic choice about their future rather than aligning with IPOB’s belief in a need for a separate state.

Opinions tend to be divided along generation lines, with younger people born long after the war expressing an interest in a referendum while older people who remember the war or grew up hearing stories about the conflict are often wary of even discussing the subject.

However, a pronouncement earlier this year by activists in the northern state of Kaduna that Igbos, who are mainly Christian, should be evicted stirred ethnic tensions. The dispute acted as a lightning rod for frustrations against Buhari, who fought in the civil war on the government side as a young soldier.

A lack of development in the southeast for decades has cemented a belief among Igbos that they have been marginalized.

IPOB ARRESTS

Michael Ogbizi, Abia state police commissioner, said 74 IPOB members had been arrested since Sept. 12 and charged with offences including murder and arson.

Many charges related to the burning down of a police station in mid-September in Aba where nine people died. Ogbizi said police had no records of IPOB members being killed.

An IPOB spokesman denied the group was involved in the fire.

Amid differing opinions about the group’s past conduct, Kanu’s disappearance has created uncertainty about its future.

“If they [the army] have killed him, let them give us the corpse,” said the IPOB leader’s brother, adding that his missing 82-year-old father and 67-year-old mother should be released if they are being held.

Liewerscheidt said if Kanu were to die at the hands of the authorities parallels could be drawn with the origins of the Boko Haram insurgency that began after the death of Mohammed Yusuf, the Islamist militant group’s founder, in police custody.

“This would likely transform IPOB into precisely the terrorist organization the military claims it already is,” he said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-security-biafra/tension-grips-nigerian-city-as-separatist-leader-goes-missing-idUSKCN1C81IT?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=59d3a84b04d3017eb4504e54&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

4 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Ninethmare: 4:31pm On Oct 03, 2017
Before any event happens in Nigeria these oyibo has seen it first

How can you kill innocent people and at the same time kidnap their leader and they keep quiet?

I am suspecting an uprising soon
Nigeria go boil

160 Likes 15 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by whitebeard(m): 4:44pm On Oct 03, 2017
Which tension...!! Abi dem dey Jones..!! sad omo Nigeria is peaceful again, now we can hear word...I'm in school come and beat me.

141 Likes 9 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by ipobarecriminals: 5:03pm On Oct 03, 2017
wink grin undecided undecided undecided sad sad angry undecided ipobs are confused and criminals set of people. Kalu told us that the ISIS trained TERRORIST don land for obodo London and now dis nitwit dey spew rubbish. Kanu is hiding within farmland there/may disguised as a mad man with a tyre around his neck just to escape. We don't buy Kalu Arabian nite tale .Kanu is still alive serving one olosho.

64 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by vedaxcool(m): 5:04pm On Oct 03, 2017
whitebeard:
Which tension...!! Abi dem dey Jones..!! sad omo Nigeria is peaceful again, now we can hear word...I'm in school come and beat me.

Whoever wrote the article doesn’t know about the many coward cownu that are in the rank and file of ipob.

Cownu loking from afar

91 Likes 6 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by whitebeard(m): 5:07pm On Oct 03, 2017
vedaxcool:


Whoever wrote the article doesn’t know about the many coward cownu that are in the rank and file of ipob.

Cownu loking from afar
grin

10 Likes 1 Share

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by gidgiddy: 6:18pm On Oct 03, 2017
Im happy that a world respectable News agent like Reuters ran this story, only shows that the Biafran story is reaching out worldwide. As much as the authorities want what happend in Abia state with operation python dance to be isolated, it has not been that way.

189 Likes 17 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Finstar: 6:29pm On Oct 03, 2017
Honestly, I don't support IPod but sadly, the Nigerian Govt keep making NK popular everyday through their numerous mistakes. Please Biafrans, we won't survive in Nigeria without you guys.. Let's just wait till 2019 and vote that vegetable of a president out.. Yes! United we can..

The bitter truth is, Nigerians can't survive without the Igbos.. We won't survive without the Igbos.. I won't survive without the Igbos.. If you ask me, Igbos are the heartbeat of this nation.. Discard them and this nation will fall..

Please, don't quote me cause I won't reply.
cool

216 Likes 22 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by scholes0(m): 6:30pm On Oct 03, 2017
Abeegi jare, Nnamdi kanu is in an underground bunker near Abiriba grin chilling everyday with smuggled in star lager and Ofe Nsala.

His wife isn't even talking.
E go do everybody like filmtrick when he emerges unscathed.

21 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by BornnAgainChild(f): 6:31pm On Oct 03, 2017
May the lost be found ijn

2 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by justuschi50: 6:31pm On Oct 03, 2017
nmandi KANU is not missing but protected from Nigeria

5 Likes 1 Share

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by priscaoge(f): 6:31pm On Oct 03, 2017
If U read the whole epistle pls summerize angry

4 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Boyooosa(m): 6:31pm On Oct 03, 2017
What is a Reuter?
It better no cobalise the remaining ones, small tym NPF go go round them off and claim they are doing investigation. Let the sleeping dog lie abeg.... We thank God that troublesome boy has been taken care off.

6 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Ogonimilitant(m): 6:32pm On Oct 03, 2017
Good

1 Like

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by bettercreature(m): 6:32pm On Oct 03, 2017
Beware when they call you separatist leader.You are very close to being called a terrorist

15 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Obudupikin: 6:32pm On Oct 03, 2017
From happenings of that day I can't help but conclude that Nnamdi Kanu is being given the Zazaky treatment.

If he was not with the authority as claimed by the Nigerian government,knowing Kanu for his loquaciousness,he would have since commented on events that transpired that fateful day.

My conclusion,he's with the government and that may prove costly.

10 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by manikspears: 6:32pm On Oct 03, 2017
ipobarecriminals:
wink grin undecided undecided undecided sad sad angry undecided ipobs are confused and criminals set of people. Kalu told us that the ISIS trained TERRORIST don land for obodo London and now dis nitwit dey spew rubbish. Kanu is hiding within farmland there/may disguised as a mad man with a tyre around his neck just to escape. We don't buy Kalu Arabian nite tale .Kanu is still alive serving one olosho.

18 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by mccoy47(m): 6:32pm On Oct 03, 2017
What tension? undecided

2 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Alphasoar(m): 6:32pm On Oct 03, 2017
dem go hear? No!

Me I dey my side first dey observe with 3D eye glass . . .

1 Like 2 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by LUGBE: 6:33pm On Oct 03, 2017
tongue
Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by jaymejate(m): 6:33pm On Oct 03, 2017
EVANS where you de oo shocked shocked shocked

either EVANS is at work or Python Dance working

2 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by free2ryhme: 6:33pm On Oct 03, 2017

29 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by hucienda: 6:33pm On Oct 03, 2017
Where is NK?

1 Like

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Flexherbal(m): 6:34pm On Oct 03, 2017
Gangan!
Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Maydfourth: 6:34pm On Oct 03, 2017
No tension oooooo

2 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by adenine02: 6:35pm On Oct 03, 2017
grin

31 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by soberdrunk(m): 6:36pm On Oct 03, 2017
No tension Dilector' is 'on tour' Malaysia to Uk..... angry

6 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Nobleking1994(m): 6:36pm On Oct 03, 2017
C
Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by steph2sweet(f): 6:36pm On Oct 03, 2017
Nigeria as a country is just a joke, with a senseless and tribalistic president.

34 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by nNEOo(m): 6:36pm On Oct 03, 2017
more international audience hmm

3 Likes

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by Celcius: 6:36pm On Oct 03, 2017
Yes o.
I'm sure the silence of the agitators is even more disturbing and worrisome. Hence the military has decided to start Operations whatever in all Southern regions.

14 Likes 4 Shares

Re: Tension Grips Nigerian City As Separatist Leader Goes Missing - REUTERS by sandland: 6:38pm On Oct 03, 2017
What stopped Nnamdi Kanu brother from dieing too?

3 Likes

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